ICOMOS Advisory Committee, Morocco, Marrakesh


Date: Oct 2019
Location: Morocco, Marrakesh


ICOMOS Advisory Committee, Annual General Assembly and Scientific Symposium

Rural Heritage-Landscapes and beyond

Rural landscapes and all the tangible and intangible heritage of rural areas are vital to the heritage of humanity. They are living, continuing, dynamic, cultural, social, environmental, and economic systems that extend across the lands and waters of our planet. While they are continuing, they are also adaptive and reflect the (often) thousands of years of human interaction with nature. As such, they are critical repositories of traditional and indigenous knowledge, essential in an era of climate change.

Rural heritage encompasses a broad diversity of places, practices and traditions, with a focus on food and fiber production, conservation and stewardship of natural and cultural heritage and habitats, and economic and livelihood well-being inclusive of rural heritage tourism.

In specific historic periods, rural landscapes may have been transformed following the introduction of new agricultural practices, as well as new technologies and facilities related to food and fiber production, storage and distribution and/or new social, political, economic, environmental conditions. Over time, rural landscapes have been changed by factors of economy, society and environment.  The archaeological evidence of  remaining heritage, are relicts of former uses and/or intact features that may be in use today, as originally used or as transformed for contemporary uses.

Traditions and practices expressing rural intangible heritage are linked to physical places and community memory, stories and ongoing daily life.  For example, the mechanization of agriculture during the 20th Century transformed land uses, patterns, facilities, settlements and transportation networks. Rural landscapes may retain the fabric, imprint or memory of earlier times, with varying level of significance and integrity.

Some rural landscapes and rural communities are recognized as being part of traditional indigenous lands World Heritage sites, IUCN protected areas, or have other global or national designations. Even so, the values of rural heritage are often unrecognized and under-appreciated making them vulnerable to multiple vectors of change. In these times of rapid change and multiple challenges, advancing rural heritage recognition and conservation is critical to humanity and to this planet.


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